Officials from both parties communicated Sunday night after Manchin delivered a severe blow to the Build Back Better Act, two sources said Monday.
After Manchin declared earlier in the day that he couldn’t back the approximately $2 trillion plan approved by the House, the two maintained the door open to additional discussions. The sources said Biden and Manchin agreed to talk again.
According to Politico, the conversation signals that Biden’s massive social spending and climate change measure may not be dead after all, even though Manchin has said that big modifications are required to secure his support.
Manchin has urged that all new programs in the package be financed for a decade. The demands aren’t simple for Democrats, but they provide a path to winning him over.
Without Manchin, the measure has little chance of getting to Biden’s desk in a Senate divided 50-50. The White House’s strong condemnation of Manchin’s comments Sunday on Fox News raised concerns about his return to the negotiation table.
A friend and confidant of Manchin’s claimed the fate of the Build Back Better Act won’t be determined by the previous two days.
“The man loves to get to yes,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s not dead until it’s buried.” And it isn’t.”
A day after making fiery statements rejecting the House-passed package, Manchin said he was at his “wits’ end” in discussions with the White House.
In a long radio interview, Manchin said he would never be influenced by radical Democrats, no matter how hard they pressed him.
He claimed he has constantly argued for a limit of $1.5 trillion in expenditure, compared to the $3.5 trillion the White House and progressives first proposed.
Manchin said he isn’t blaming anybody for his fall, but Democrats underestimated his resolve. He sought employment requirements and means testing in the measure.
“I knew where they were and what they could do. “They simply didn’t recognize it because they thought we can’t move one person, harass and beat one person up enough,” he added. “Wait, what? I’m from WV. I’m not from where they are, and they can simply beat people and expect them to be submissive.”
Manchin also hinted at what drove him over the brink.
“They know why it occurred. “They won’t tell you, and I won’t,” he said.
President Obama’s press secretary said Monday that Biden considers Manchin a friend and that the White House would keep working to approve the law.
“They’re lifelong friends – that hasn’t changed,” Psaki said at a briefing, adding that compromise “isn’t a terrible word” for Biden.
“The president believes they share a spectrum of principles, a dedication to supporting working people and lowering expenses for Americans.” “Our goal yesterday was to inform the American people about recent occurrences,” Psaki stated.
As for the White House’s unusually strong reaction Sunday, Psaki claimed Manchin’s opposition to the bill defied private talks and assurances he made to the White House.
“It’s staff-driven,” Manchin said earlier Monday. I get it. The staff, not the president. Their actions were totally unacceptable, and they know it.
“I’m simply expressing the basic line,” Manchin responded when asked whether he meant Biden’s team was putting out material against him. I knew we couldn’t alter – it was set in stone. Not that many people.”
In the absence of a vote on the social expenditure bill, the Senate adjourned early Saturday. Last month, the House approved a similar bill.
According to Manchin, the original Build Back Better plan was “very far-reaching.” Inflation, the Covid epidemic, and geopolitical differences worry him more.
Democrats approach legislation as though they had “55 or 60 Democratic senators and can do anything they want,” he said.
“I believe I still represent the compassionate, rational side of the Democratic Party,” he remarked.
Manchin said the main reason he voted to go on with the reconciliation process was to reverse former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts so that “everyone paid their fair amount.”
“I would like to imagine there are still Democrats who think as I do,” he remarked. I’m thrifty and socially conscious. Now, if there are no such Democrats, they’ll have to push me.”